Our History

The Newark Crusader is back after the break for Covid and now operates from Newark Marina with a new purpose-built wheelchair friendly pontoon and ramp. The charity was originally set up by Mr James Wilkinson, of Newark Marina and his late great friend and businessman Mr John Coles. The Boat was skippered and managed by Mr Les Reid with the help of volunteers from the surrounding community.

The Team – The Original Trustee of Newark Crusader CIO Charity Mr John Coles (left) with Skipper Mr Les Reid (centre) and trustee Mr James Wilkinson (right).

The Newark Crusader has been operating since the 1990’s and has been a popular cruise boat for elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people from all across the East Midlands.

The boat was purpose built for St John’s Ambulance and operated under the Water Wing boat scheme until that charity and the boats future became uncertain, and the boat was transferred to the current charity. The 60ft boat was updated and renovated at the start of the Charity to be ready for further trips along the River Trent, and continues running today.

When it was transferred to Newark Crusader CIO, a charity which was been set up by Mr James Wilkinson, of Newark Marina, and Mr John Coles, businessman and friend of Mr Wilkinson, the process was overseen by Langleys solicitors in Lincoln who assisted the new owners to establish the charity and kindly provided all their legal help for free to help with this charity.

Mr James Wilkinson said “The Newark Crusader has provided a lot of pleasure over the years to many groups in the East Midlands and we wanted it to continue and decided to take it on”

We are indebted to that brave step, and their faith has been rewarded, as many passengers can attest.

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